Date: June 8, 2013
* UPDATE - 12 kids, 20 adults (total 32 pax) in 6 vans, 6 private tour guides. We went for a trip that all our kids will remember. http://miniliew.blogspot.sg/2013/12/2-taiwan-private-tour-guide-itinerary.html
* UPDATE Nov 20, 2013 * On Dec 7, I am going to organise another trip to Taiwan. This time, I will travel with 5 other Jay Jay’s friends and families. I is going to be a fun trip and again, Danny will helm my entire tour with 6x vans and tour guides. It is going to be a cool trip.
As requested, here is my view about vacation with children.
For our lovely private tour guide contact and the price of our trip, please scroll down to the bottom.
Common Problems and Why I Choose A Private Tour Guide & Rented a Van
1. Some kids wake up early, some kids wake up late. Some kids take afternoon nap. Some kids sleep early, some kids sleep late. For Jay & Kay, they sleep very early, and they wake up early too. For Kay Kay, sometimes, he will take afternoon nap. So, if I would have taken a tour group, most of the time, I will have to wake my kids up early in the morning to check out from hotel. And this will make the kid very moody for the whole day, and you won't be enjoying the vacation.
With a private van, and a private tour guide, the time is in your hand. You designed your own tour. You can change it anytime you want. Because you are the boss.
The seats are comfortable for 5 person (my family and my mom).
Now you know what I mean.
2. Staying in Good Hotel is important. It usually make you feel good if you can choose where to stay. The tour group package is cheap, and therefore the hotel given sometimes can be bad. So, I don't like. Most of the time, for a 7 days 6 night trip, you probably end up changing up to 6 hotels for 6 nights. If you have a lousy hotel, your mood will go down too.
In this trip, we get to choose our own hotel. In our trip this time, I choose 4 民宿 (Bed & breakfast hotel) to stay.
欧风小镇 is a Bed & Breakfast hotel that overlook the mountains.
We have breakfast in a very nice environment. And the kids love the swing there. We stayed here for the first 2 nights.
These are the scenes you enjoyed so much every day when you wake up.
Lots of mountains.
We stay in a room that comes with mezzanine floor.
The room upstairs got a very nice view of the mountain scenery.
They really think that this is their home.
The kids are enjoying themselves.
The 2nd hotel we stay is at 石门水库观景套房 (for 2 nights). We stayed in a room that comes with two floors where we can climb up and down the stairs.
三芝熊 is the 3rd hotel.
This is the view you look outside.
日光行馆. We stayed in this hotel for the last night in Taiwan. And the manager says, we shall have the hotel plus the restaurant by our own tonight as we took the entire of their hotel.
They have a big garden!
Also a big Koi Fish pond.
You want to wake up and let your kids to play in the garden.
In general, we choose our own hotel to stay. And how you choose it? Buy books and read, and then choose.
From these books, you can see very fabulous photos of each hotel. Why stay in a normal 4 stars or 5 stars hotel that will disappoint you, where you can stay in the hotel build by the entrepreneur.
This is where I found info on the 3rd hotel.
Once you like the hotel, you just discuss with your tour guide, and ask for their opinion.
Here are some other good books you can refer too.
Yes, I know sometime it can be pricy, and expensive. But just think about it, you have travel so far away to this country. So, why not spent a bit more to stay in good hotel and make your trip a memorable one?
In fact, some of these hotel are not expensive at all. You just have to look for it. These hotel can be very nice, cheap, and it is far away, and you will need a private tour guide to bring you around.
3. Kids cannot control when to pee pee or poo poo. So, if you follow a big group of visitors on a big bus, usually you will go into trouble, when your kid suddenly say, I want to poo poo.
In our case, we just tell our driver who is also our private tour guide, and he will know where to stop for us to finish our business.
4. There are many beautiful point of interest where tour bus cannot go. In Taiwan, I found that there are many places where those big tour bus cannot enter. So, usually the tour package will bring you to places where there are many visitors visit. It will be very pack, and your kid may feel uneasy. If you crash with other tour bus, the number of visitors will multiply too. Just imagine, 6 tour bus go to a point of interest at the same time.
My kids love to sit in the Bullet Train (高铁). So, I designed the trip so that once we alight at Tao Yuan Air Port, we take a bus, and then, change to a bullet train to go Tai Chung. And the private tour guide will pick us up at Tai Chung Train Station.
We get to change itinerary on the fly. We rented this boat by ourselves. It is only TWD$300 per pax. So the kids have the boat by ourselves.
They know exactly where to bring us.
Of course, we still go to those common place. We felt the earthquake here.
We go pluck peaches.
Enjoy music fountains.
Visit the old train track. This is Taiwan highest train track.
This place the normal tour package will definitely not come.
Of course we still play at the children theme park. We do not have to follow the tour guide timing. As we have our own van and tour guide, we can decide how much time to spent in the park. This is the 小叮当.
We even got time to do toboggan in the Hokkaido Snow City.
A close look at Pinang Lady.
At the water dam.
At the 小人国.
Kids having lots of fun, and parents also have fun!
Taipei Zoo. To see Panda.
The golden water fall.
Touch the gold.
Fly sky lantern.
You design your own trip. You change the trip on the fly. And you end up telling the tour guide "I have enough walking! Let's rest on the last day." HaHaHa
5. I want to put my shopping bag down. If you follow a big tour bus, you will not be able to buy a lot of things. Especially when you buy a lot of things, you certainly want to place those item safely some where and then continue your shopping.
So, for us, we just put our luggage or the boxes or the shopping bags in the car and continue our shopping. At the last day, just bring everything to the airport and repack.
That brown box below followed us and sit in the back of the van for almost 5 days. We bought all the souvenir biscuit from Tai Chung.
6. Of course, when you follow a big tour group. You eat what they bring you. Most of the time, the food is "cheap" and not so nice. But the tour guide will say it is nice.
For our private tour guide, he brought us to food that he thinks is nice, famous and he personally tried before. He asked me a question, "which food I don't like?" My answer to him is I love all the food he brought us.
The natives food.
Natives Malu fruits.
The tea eggs.
Jay ate 4 of them.
I love this Guinness Stouts ice cream.
The hotel usually provides free home made breakfast.
The tasty Ah Tong Chicken.
Ah Tong Chicken restaurant.
We bought some tea leaf.
We eat at this restaurant where all chair and plates made of paper.
The spring chicken is nice.
Some western food at one of the Texas steak house.
Make your own Ke Jia Lei Cha.
We ate a lot of 客家菜.
Beef noodle Soup.
Nice food here too.
Another beef noodle.
Not too bad.
Waiting for our pork knuckle.
A nice breakfast.
7. Self Design vacation can't bring you to many places. I have been doing my own vacation plan for many years. We went to Japan 6 times on our own. But most of the time, you stay close to the JR station. And we have to take expensive taxi to visit point of interest. So, it is not so economical.
So, this time, when we have this trip with private tour guides, and our own cars. It surprise both my wife and me. It is so comfortable, and we visit place at our own pace, and yet so much fun. It is not so tiring, and we had a lot of fun time and good food.
Thanks to Mr. Danny and Mr. Tony. Both are brothers.
This is Mr. Danny. He is our driver and tour guide.
This is Tony. He is Danny's brother.
Photo with Tony. Jay's friend Lukas and family followed him in his car.
Danny helped us to book all the hotel. And his fee is about TWD$6600 per day.
The following price not include Plane ticket. Which I pay about S$350 per pax using Scoot.
This is the itinerary that we have discussed and finalised.
And I wired him some money before we confirmed the deal.
So, if you have some extra budget, do try out their services. I must say, I had a very wonderful time in Taiwan. And I am now planning my December trip to go Taiwan again. This time I will go 台东， 花莲， etc etc.
Danny and Tony blog is below. They are fun. And they talk throughout the whole journey.